You can buy spiralised courgette, but this treats it more like a pappardelle, akin to lasagna sheets cut into 2cm wide strips, giving you more of the texture and flavour of the fast-boiled vegetable. Stir in just-cooked pappardelle with the courgette for an even more fulfilling bowl of food.
The ‘pasta’ takes any tomato-based pasta sauce, but try this red pesto for a tasty change:
Make a pesto or salsa combining half and half chopped dried tomato and sun dried tomato, combined with 40g of chopped hazelnuts, 50g roughly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 grated garlic clove, a pinch of dried oregano, 2 tbsp of our salsa-style Burger Relish and 1 tbsp of our Chilli Jam.
Mix this together well and spoon it onto or into your pasta, finished with a scattering of aromatic fresh thyme leaves.
Asparagus & Cottage Cheese
What’s unusual about this colourful sunshine salad, is the use of cottage cheese. Many cheese varieties work well – tangy feta, crumbly Caerphilly, shaves of Parmesan are the usual culinary culprits. A powerful British goat’s cheese is another wonderful alternative. But this is a great excuse to explore some of the cottage cheeses we too often pass by on the shelves or on-line.
Traditionally, Cottage Cheese is an artisanal cheese (hence ‘cottage’) using the milk left over from making butter. They generally have a bright, fresh flavour to be eaten soon after production. The milky texture offers much to contrast the colourful crunch of such a salad.
Many current artisan producers use goat’s milk or ewe’s milk to further enrich the creamy tub of joy. British mozzarella and ricotta are others worthy of such simple summer servings too.
For the actual salad, anything goes. When cooking the asparagus, break off the harder part of the stem, where it ‘snaps’ naturally. Boil or steam then plunge them into iced water to stop the cooking and preserve the delightful green. Halve your cherry tomatoes and soak them in a marinade of olive oil, our fruity Mango & Orange Dressing and flakes of sea salt. This releases the tomatoes’ natural juices to infuse the oil which you use to dress your salad compilation.
There are a few basic stages to this but the end result will be your new favourite ‘go to’ meat-free meal.
Make the béchamel sauce first. Melt 25g of butter with 2 tbsp of olive oil making a roux with 30g of flour then drizzle in 400ml of semi-skimmed milk, whisking constantly as the sauce thickens up. Keep this warm, stirring occasionally to avoid it forming a skin.
You will need finely chopped or sliced tomatoes (4 or 5) carrots, courgette, aubergine, asparagus and mushrooms. Start frying them in butter / oil combo, aubergines and carrots first for 5 minutes; add the courgette for 3 or 4 minutes; now the mushrooms and tomatoes. A splash of red wine, lots of our amazing Bloody Mary Ketchup, 2 tbsp of Chilli Jam and a twist of dried mixed herbs.
Cook a packet of fresh lasagne pasta to the pack instructions. Whilst this boils, spread 200g or so of spinach on the base of a lasagne dish; pour a third of the béchamel sauce over the spinach and layer pasta, vegetables, pasta, vegetables, pasta, finished with the remaining béchamel sauce on top.
Put the dish into the oven, pre-heated to 180°C / Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes and serve with a green salad.
To make these beauties, cut aubergines in half lengthways, cut criss-cross strokes into the pulp (without breaking the skin), drizzle with olive oil and bake them for 20 minutes at 180°C / Gas Mark 5.
Let them cool a little, then scoop the flesh out with a spoon. Mix this with cooked basmati rice and vegetables.
You can bring leftover vegetables to life with fresh asparagus, pepper and herbs as the combination gently fries with the smoky heat of Chipotle Ketchup. Add the cooked rice, aubergine flesh and grated Cheddar cheese at this stage so that it’s easy to spoon into the aubergine boats.
When the aubergines are stuffed, bake them for just 10 minutes at 180°C / Gas Mark 5 and that’s it.
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